• Winter Journals: An irresistibly calm winter

Winter Journals: An irresistibly calm winter

Before I had a chance to explain to the girls why Canada doesn’t just let tourists stay here forever, we pulled into Rockies Heli Canada. Every face in Mag’s van lit up and we stumbled up the snow covered steps, racing to get through their front door. The team here are incredible and their pilots/guides are extremely skilled in what they do (Tip: If you ask really nicely, they may add complimentary Bailys to your hot chocolate).

Our tour took us twenty minutes in the air to a secluded wonderland, nestled amongst the enormous rocky mountain range. Snow shoes were a necessity as the helicopter itself sank uncomfortably low into the extensive snow beneath us (falling over here was a lot more fun). A forest of pine trees welcomed us, decorated in glistening white powder and we carved our own path through meadows resembling that of Narnia itself.

After numerous surprise tackles into the snow, some hot chocolate and convincing Pacha we couldn’t just leave her there to live in the wild, it was back to the helicopter and reluctantly back to base.

On the road again dreaming of snow caped mountains beneath our feet, we soon arrived at our final destination. Jasper.

Something changes when you reach Jasper. A sense of calm moves through your entire body and it almost feels like arriving home. It’s quieter here, the air seems crisper and the wildlife more present.

Located in the Canadian Rockies, within the Athabasca River Valley, Jasper is just far enough out of the way to be irresistibly calm during the Winter season (although extremely accessible) and perfect for the novice snowboarder sure to plough through un-expecting crowds at any second, or the skilled athlete ready for an enticingly clear run.

Stepping out of our newly renovated rooms at The Crimson Hotel into first light, cool air woke us instantly and we began the morning ice shuffle to our favourite café in town, Coco’s.

We spent our days in Jasper ice-skating at the exquisite Pyramid Lake, falling in love with the uninterrupted runs throughout Marmot Basin ski field and exploring frozen ice canyons with Sundog Tours. Recommended by the knowledgeable team at Tourism Jasper, this tour with Sundog was spectacular. Exploring ice caves throughout Maligne Canyon and watching gushing waterfalls trapped by their frozen exteriors moving beneath the surface was incredible.

Marmot Basin, complimented by the amazing team working there, was a highlight of our venture to Jasper also and we wholeheartedly recommend choosing their mountains for your next ski or snowboarding expedition.

Nights were divided between our two favourite venues in town, Evil Dave’s and the Jasper Brewing Co. The salmon is out of this world at Evil Dave’s, and The Jasper Brewing Co had the best beer we tasted whilst travelling through Canada, an abundance of irresistible atmosphere and gluten free chocolate brownies!

Our team could agree that any true Canadian experience would not be complete without visiting the town of Jasper, Alberta and I know we will be back as soon as we possibly can.

So what was our favourite part of this trip to Canada?

Pacha – My favourite part of this trip would have to be the locations – the different variations of snow and ice and all the wildlife with it. I love the ocean, so it was quite incredible to be constantly surrounded by another form of H2O. We got to visit beautiful Wolfdogs, something beyond my imagination and apart from freezing hands and toes, nothing beats a hot chocolate after a day in the snow. So many adventures and experiences that were truly once in a lifetime – Thankyou Canada, you forever have a place in my heart.

Tanika – I loved Canada! Top of my list would have to be the Wolfdogs. I am such an animal lover so this was a really amazing experience for me. I have also always wanted to try snowboarding, which I’m so thankful we got to do as I absolutely loved every second of it! I was blown away by the incredible scenery in Canada also – the ice canyon walks were so interesting and tobogganing down local ice hills of an afternoon just can’t be beat. Oh! And the hot chocolate. And the maple syrup. And the pancakes. I’ll probably think of more food I enjoyed soon enough! All in all, you have to visit this place to find out just how amazing it is.

Would you return to Canada?

Pacha/Tanika - YES! In a heartbeat! Does this mean we’re going?! Hang on I need more thermals!

A massive thankyou to Geckos Adventures and Marie from their team, who was an incredible travel buddy, essential part of this project and all round amazing person to work with. Destination British Columbia, Tourism Alberta, Tourism Whistler, Tourism Jasper and Tourism Banff Lake Louise for their support in making this trip so thoroughly enjoyable and all those involved who have been mentioned in the past three blog articles.

Until next time – keep wandering,